Texas Employers and Open Carry

With the passage of HB 910, beginning in 2016, employees licensed to carry handguns will be able to carry them openly on their person in Texas. Prior to passage of HB 910, individuals licensed to carry handguns were only allowed to carry the gun in a concealed manner.

With proper notice, HB 910 will not have a large impact on Texas employers. It is imperative that employers follow the specific statutory provisions if they seek to prevent open carry on their business premises. Employers wishing to prohibit firearms in the workplace must display and/or disclose the following:

Pursuant to Section 30.07, Penal Code (trespass by license holder with an openly carried handgun), a person licensed under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code (handgun licensing law), may not enter this property with a handgun that is carried openly.

Notice is the key requirement if an employer does not want licensed handgun carriers to open carry while they are at work. Employers may provide the statutory notice by providing a document such as an employee handbook policy setting forth the statutory notice. Employers can also comply with the notice requirement by posting the above statutory notice in both English and Spanish. In addition to being posted in both English and Spanish, the notice must be in contrasting colors with block letters at least one inch in height and must be posted conspicuously in both place and manner. The notice must be visible to the public at each entrance to the workplace.

In order to avoid potential claims in disciplining employees who violate the notice, the employer should: (1) conspicuously post signs using the statutory language; (2) revise and distribute its employment policies; (3) communicate the changes to its employees; and (4) educate its employees about the new law.